The lawsuit Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) and former unit AMC Networks (Nasdaq: AMCX) filed against Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) over the satellite TV provider's refusal to carry AMC and Dish's exit from the companies' Voom HD joint venture has taken some bizarre turns in the courtroom--the most recent being an episode Monday in which a Dish executive fought back tears to berate a Cablevision lawyer, the judge and even the lawyer's father, who was in the courtroom at the time, according to a New York Post report.
The row began after the Judge Richard Lowe ordered that Dish executive Carolyn Crawford, who had been in court as an observer, and whose missing computer hard drive and documents Cablevision claims are important to its case, exit the courtroom, and that her current computer be seized. The judge said Crawford, who Cablevision lawyer Orin Snyder also has accused of deleting files relevant to the lawsuit, should not have been allowed to observe court proceedings if she is that central to the case.
Crawford allegedly exited the room sobbing, but returned later to have a heated exchange at the bench with Cablevision's lawyers and the judge. The Post report says she berated both parties, but does not have a record of what she said. The report adds that Crawford also tapped Snyder's father on the back, and asked if he was proud of his son, an action which caused Snyder to ask that police be called.
Ultimately, no police intervention took place, but some observers are suggesting that the $2.4 billion lawsuit could end in a mistrial. The latest episode came after several days of contentious courtroom events, including Judge Lowe accusing Dish of attempting to delay the trial, and threatening to rule in favor of Cablevision and AMC if Dish did not turn over to the court documents relevant to the case.
Cablevision and AMC filed the originally filed the lawsuit over a contractual dispute related to the Voom HD venture, but also have accused Dish of dropping AMC from its line-up in retaliation. Dish has said it dropped AMC because of low ratings, though Dish competitors have had a marketing field day recently urging fans of AMC's hit "The Walking Dead," to switch providers over the decision.
-see this NY Post report
Judge Lowe urged Cablevision and Dish to discuss a settlement
Cablevision and AMC said Dish is trying to maneuver toward mistrial